In college you're going to take classes with professors that you love, and with professors that you can't stand. The ones that are loved get enough praise, so here is a letter to those professors that really shouldn't be teaching.
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Dear bad professor,
It should be clear that as a college student, I am eager to learn new skills and broaden my horizons. Hopefully that is pretty obvious, because why else would my fellow classmates and I be spending thousands of dollars every year just to learn things we could easily access online? During my two years at college, I have figured out what makes a good professor and what makes a bad professor.
Let us start with something simple. Do not make class participation count towards our grade. When class starts at 8 a.m., my brain is still in the process of waking up during the class and I won't be ready to talk until about 9:30. Another flaw with this concept is when, there is two pages of notes up on the board and you expect me to be able to copy them down in five minutes, while participating at the same time. The notes are important because those are what I will use to study for your exams later, but now class participation is also important because it is a factor of my overall grade. And now both suffer because I need to put half effort into both. Just because I don't participate, doesn't mean I don't know the answer or that I am not paying attention.
It is also important to remember that we are students, my name isn't Dr. Nicole Infantes, yet. Most of the information that you are presenting to us is the hundredth time you are seeing it. However, it is the first time for us and a lot of the time it doesn't always make sense the first time. I can understand this frustration because I've experienced it while playing sports. When someone just can not understand something that comes so easily to you, it can get frustrating. As a professor, I ask you to please remember what you felt like when you were first learning the same material because that's how all 20 of us feel in your class.
When you are handing out projects, essays, or another classwork besides exams, please be clear with what you want from us. Not only are we taking four other classes, but we are expected to be active in clubs on campus, have jobs and to be able to also balance a social life. All of those things become a lot harder when you give unclear instructions. A project that could have taken us three hours now takes seven because we spent half the time trying to figure out what to assignment actually was. Being clear with your instructions will give us much needed direction and make grading a more easy experience on your end.
I know being a teacher is an unappreciated profession and is a lot of hard work. However, if your students look forward to coming to class and you have an open dialogue with them it could make you job a lot more enjoyable.